Independent review of CSR Report 2012 Independent review of CSR Report 2012




Mitsuo Ogawa

President, Craig Consulting

After graduating from Waseda University, he joined a major automotive-related manufacturer. Then, in 1991 he obtained an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh in the US and in the same year he joined the Sanwa Research Institute Corporation. In 2000, he moved to PwC Consulting and then in 2004, he established Craig Consulting as an independent company, becoming its president.

His publications include ISO26000 de Keiei ha Kou Kawaru (; Nikkei Publishing Inc.)

The policy behind Advantest’s CSR

Advantest’s core technologies are in measurement and testing and it has stated that its objective is to use these technologies to help realize a safer and more secure society.

The core ideas I discerned from Advantest’s CSR is that it is continuing to refine and improve its measurement and testing technologies so that it can contribute to solving society’s problems. Moreover, based on President Matsuno’s top message, I understood that it is widely applying the technologies it has developed in its semiconductor test equipment business in a variety of fields–including the medical, environmental, and energy fields–in order to help realize this improved level of security and safety in society.

For example, Advantest is using its cutting edge measurement technologies to provide innovative medical diagnostic equipment. In the report’s ‘Aiming to Contribute to the Healthcare Field’ section, I learned how it is using its new technology, a photoacoustic imaging diagnostic system, to safely examine the condition of skin issue without having to make any incision in the skin. This technology will enable doctors to test for necrosis in the limbs of diabetes patients. Up to the present time, doctors have had to diagnose this condition by touch, relying on their experience and intuition. So the use of this technology will help to provide peace of mind to those suffering from this illness. I consider this to be the biggest attribute of Advantest’s CSR, that through its business it is helping to solve society’s problems.

Interacting and strengthening cooperation with stakeholders

The biggest topic in the last fiscal year was almost certainly Advantest’s management integration with a company from the same industry, Verigy Ltd. Through this integration, it increased its share of its target market to 49% and became both in name and in actuality the leader of its industry. This means that the new Advantest has greater societal responsibilities than it ever has before. For example, it is a matter of course for Advantest to carry out its CSR with a high level of awareness, but as an industry leader I think that it must also play a role in guiding and educating its business partners and customers on CSR. Moreover, thanks to the integration it has become a much more global company and so it must prepare itself so that it can deal with global risks with a high level of competence.

I think the key when making preparations to deal with global risk is repeatedly interacting with stakeholders. In the past, Advantest did a reasonably good job of interacting with its stakeholders. An example of this interaction can be seen in the following instance. One of the Company’s strengths is its zealous approach to environmental activities. The Gunma R&D Center possesses a large biotope that includes precious natural assets such as birds and aquatic insects and the Center is playing a role in maintaining biodiversity. It is collaborating with the Japanese Society for Preservation of Birds in order to preserve the biotope and it is also inviting local children on wildlife tours to observe aquatic insects. I keenly feel the Company places importance on existing in harmony with local communities, one of its stakeholders. In addition, Advantest products are exported to a large number of overseas countries, but even in these locations the customer can return the packaging as the Company will collect these materials once the product has been delivered to the customer. So I think this approach, of collaborating with customers to carry out environmental activities, is also worthy of attention.

But even so, I still think that it may be necessary for Advantest to increase its interactions with stakeholders and to strengthen its cooperation with them. Also, it needs to disclose in its CSR report what it has actually achieved in these areas. That is to say, I think that an issue in the future will be achieving the kind of disclosure that clearly shows how it will meet the needs of its stakeholders and that encompasses both its ideas and its policies.

Creating CSR Goals and a Roadmap

I think that formulating a CSR vision is also likely to be a pressing issue for Advantest. This report was created based on seven core ISO26000 subjects and I got a strong sense from it that the Company is carrying out CSR that meets its global responsibilities. On the other hand, after its integration with Verigy, Advantest entered a new stage in its evolution and it is clear to me that it must think about what its CSR goals should be in this new stage. To say this in another way, it must not only clearly establish the importance of CSR, but also answer the fundamental question of what type of CSR will reflect Advantest as a company. If it does not clearly set this goal, then it will not be able to plan PDCA for individual activities and also will not be able to measure the results of its investment in CSR. I think it is vitally important for the Company to consider targets in terms of not just what it wants to achieve, but also by when and to what extent, and then based on this formulate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). I believe Advantest has reached the stage in its evolution where it should be clearly disclosing to stakeholders the current state of its CSR and the issues it faces, while at the same time taking on the challenge of achieving tough targets.

Making full use of human resources on a global stage

Moreover, it is essential that Advantest’s employees, who are its most important stakeholder, clearly understand its CSR vision. This is because they will not be able to communicate it to other stakeholders if they don’t understand it themselves. In April 2012, Advantest launched a globally integrated human resources system. Even on a global scale, there is clear evidence that employees’ satisfaction in their work directly connects to a company’s level of competitiveness. The goal for Advantest is for its employees to understand and then actually carry out its CSR vision and thereby create a work environment in which the employees feel a sense of pride in their work. It should aim to be the type of company that utilizes its employees’ experience and expertise for the benefit of society and that earns the gratitude of people throughout the world. I believe that Advantest has the potential to become this kind of company, one in which the employees are full of excitement and energy about the role they are playing for society.